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Where Do Vegans Get B12? An Understanding Of The Vital Vitamin


Where Do Vegans Get B12?

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that plays a vital role in many bodily functions, including red blood cell production, nerve function, and DNA synthesis, whilst also maintaining a healthy immune system, so, yeah it's a pretty important one!


As you may have heard, B12 isn't naturally found in plant foods so there's often a concern over where vegans can get their B12 from. Before we can answer that question, first we should understand B12's origins and why it's often found in animal products.

Contrary to popular belief, Vitamin B12 is not produced by plants or animals, but rather by certain bacteria that are found in soil. Animals that graze on grass, regularly ingest these bacteria and in doing so synthesise B12 which is later stored in their liver. When they are slaughtered, the B12 is released into their muscles and other tissues. However, as over 95% of farm animals are now raised on factory farms, they never come in contact with grass or the bacteria that produce B12. Instead, farmed animals are injected with B12, meaning the B12 humans consume comes second-hand, from a supplement initially given to farm animals.


Where Do Vegans Get B12?

There's no need to worry though as there are a few different ways that vegans can get B12. One way is to consume foods that have been fortified with B12. This includes many plant-based milks, cereals, and of course, the forever faithful nutritional yeast. If fortified B12 isn't sufficient you can always opt for a B12 supplement - personally, I do this as a matter of precaution. The recommended daily intake of B12 for adults is 2.4 micrograms. However, it's recommended to consume more than this to ensure that your body absorbs enough of it.


One thing to take note of is that not all B12 supplements are created equal. Some supplements may not contain the active form of B12, which is methylcobalamin. B12 can come in a few different forms but methylcobalamin is the easier form for the body to absorb, so always make sure you're picking the supplement with this in it.


As always, it's worth checking in with your healthcare professional if you're worried you're not getting enough B12 - And that goes for all humans, not just those who choose to refrain from eating animal products.


If you're looking for personal recommendations (not sponsored), I used to take Veg1 from the Vegan Society, but I've recently changed to the multivitamin from VeganVitality - both contain substantial amounts of B12 and other vitamins and minerals we should all aim to get enough of.


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